Dr Laura Eastlake

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Programme Leader, English Literature

Department of English, History & Creative Writing


I joined Edge Hill in January 2017, having taught previously at the University of Stirling and the University of Glasgow. I hold an MA in Classics, an MLitt in Victorian Literature, and a PhD in Victorian literature and classical receptions. I am Co-Director of EHU19 Research Centre for nineteenth-century studies.

My research interests include Victorian masculinity, classical reception studies, sensation fiction and late-Victorian Gothic. My book, Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity (2018) was published by Oxford University Press and awarded the Honorable Mention in the University English Book Prize (2019).

My current research project, ‘Victorian Sugar’, explores Victorian relationships with refined sugar as both consumer product and cultural metaphor in a century which saw the average person’s daily intake of sugar increase by more than six times. It considers the legacies of Victorian habits of sugar consumption for today’s cultural conversations about gender, health, class, and empire.

exhibition poster featuring John Collier's LilithI am interested in collaborative research which spans disciplines and connects researchers with a range of audiences via heritage organizations and businesses beyond the university. I have curated museum exhibitions including ‘Fatal Attraction: Lilith and her Sisters’ on the history of the femme fatale from the ancient world to the silver screen; ‘We Are Not Amused’ on the history of Victorian laughter; and ‘Dr Jekyll’s Study: Science and Medicine in the Nineteenth Century’.


I am co-designer of our new MA in Nineteenth Century Studies and am happy to take queries about the programme.

At undergraduate level I lead modules on:

  • LIT1020: Ways of Reading
  • LIT1025: Form
  • LIT3054: Vampire Fictions
  • LIT3040: Victorian Literature
  • LIT3045: Hosting a Literary Festival (Work-based Project Module)

PhD / MRes Supervision:

  • ‘The Author as Artist: Authenticity & Invented Art in Fiction’ (Julia Clayton, PhD)
  • ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Print Them: Monsters in Victorian Newspapers’ (Michael Horton, PhD)
  • ‘Beyond the Reproductive: Refiguring the Female Body in Victorian Popular Fiction’ (Cara Wadsworth, MRes)
  • ‘The Female-Authored Femme Fatale of the Fin de Siecle’ (Amy Warburton, MRes)




Ancient Rome and Victorian Masculinity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)


‘Playing Cute: Sensation Villainy and the Aesthetics of Small Things’, Journal of Victorian Culture (2021)

‘Forgotten Legacies of Ancient Rome in Wilkie Collins’s Antonina’, Classical Receptions Journal, 8.2 (2016)

‘Metropolitan Manliness: Ancient Rome, Victorian London and the Rhetoric of the New, 1880-1914’, English Literature in Transition, 59.4 (2016), pp.473-492

Journal Special Issues

Materiality in Wilkie Collins and his Contemporaries, Wilkie Collins Journal, co-edited with Dr Kym Brindle (2019)


Review of Laura Monros-Gaspar, Victorian Classical Burlesques: A Critical Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2015), Classics Ireland (2018)

Review of Holly Furneaux, Military Men of Feeling: Masculinity, Emotion and Tactility in the Crimean War (Oxford University Press, 2016), Wilkie Collins Journal (2018)

Review of Molly Youngkin’s British Women Writers and the Reception of Ancient Egypt, 1840-1910 (Palgrave, 2016), English Literature in Transition, 60.4 (2017)

Review of Bradley Deane’s Masculinity and the New Imperialism: Rewriting Manhood in British Popular Literature, 1870-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 10:3 (Winter 2014)

Review of Jonathan Sachs’s Romantic Antiquity: Rome in the British Imagination 1789-1932 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)’, The Kelvingrove Review, 7 (March 2011)

Select Conference Papers and Talks

‘Keynote: The Victorians and Cleopatra: Unwriting the Greatest (Orientalist) Love Story Ever Told’, Breaking Barriers: Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture in the Woke Age (2020)

‘A Sweet-Eating Nation’: Sugar, Masculinity and Nationhood at the Fin de Siècle‘, BAVS: Victorian Renewals, University of Dundee, 2019.

Playing Cute: Sensation Villainy and the Aesthetics of Small Things’, Victorian Popular Fiction Association Conference, University of Greenwich, 2019.

‘Romans and Revenues: the Toga Play in the Late Nineteenth Century’, BAVS: Consuming the Victorians Conference, University of Cardiff, 31st August – 2nd September 2016.

‘New Neronians: The Deviant Emperor and Decadent Masculinity at the Fin de Siècle’, Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism and Decadence Conference, University of Oxford, 16th-17th June 2014.

Projects and Grants



exhibition poster featuring John Collier's Lilith‘Fatal Attraction: Lilith and her Sisters’. This research project in collaboration with the Atkinson Museum and Gallery in Southport, explores the history of the femme fatale as a cultural figure, from ancient times to the silver screen.


Victorian man laughing against a background of nineteenth-century newspaper textWhat did it take to make a Victorian laugh? ‘We Are Not Amused!’ explores the forgotten history of nineteenth-century humour, exploring the changing subjects and forms of Victorian humour. Co-I: Dr Bob Nicholson, Dr Andrew McInnes.

‘Substance Use and Abuse’. This project examines how the use and perception of chemical substances as therapies, quack remedies, or dangerous drugs changed during a century of rapid medical innovation. Full details: http://substance18.wordpress.com. Co-I: Dr Andrew McInnes, Dr Bob Nicholson.


2019: ‘We Are Not Amused! Laughter in the Nineteenth Century’ Project:

  • Being Human Award
  • BAVS Public Engagement Award
  • BARS Event Funding

2018: ‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’ Project:

  • Alcohol Research UK, Small Grant
  • Past and Present Society, Small Grant
  • BARS Event Funding
  • BAVS Event Funding
  • Research Investment Fund Award, Edge Hill University.

2016: ‘Wilkie Collins and Antiquity’, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship, Harry Ransom Centre, University of Austin, TX.

2016: ‘Anxious Forms: Masculinities in Crisis’, Collaborative Research Award, University of Glasgow.

Last updated on Last updated on Was this page helpful? Yes No Thanks for your feedback! Please tell us more: